Zais Tapped to Lead Publications

Mitchell "Mick" Zais, a former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, is now the chair of the Publications subcommittee of the American First Day Cover Society. Publications is a part of the Education Department of the AFDCS, which is chaired by Michael Lake.
Zais was also briefly Acting Secretary of Education in 2021 and has served as South Carolina Superintendent of Education and president of Newbury College. Before that, the West Point graduate had reached the rank of Brigadier General in the United States Army.
He has often told the story of how he was able to skip a required geography course at the U.S. Military Academy because of the knowledge he had gained from stamp collecting. Today, he specializes in the first day covers of the Army stamps of the Army-Navy Series of 1936-37 (Sc. 785-789).
Mick was elected to the AFDCS Board of Directors, beginning in January 2023. He served as president of the American Philatelic Society from 2016 to 2018, resigning to avoid a conflict of interest with his federal appointment.
"I look forward to working with our team at AFDCS to bring useful and important publications to our members," said Zais. "Most exciting is the recent permission acquired by the Society to re-print the Mellone first day cover catalogs."
The AFDCS has published books, handbooks, and catalogues on everything from the basics of FDC collecting to making cachets, from FDCs of the 1909 commemorative issues to those of the 1988 Cats issue. A complete list can be found in the AFDCS Marketplace. The Education Department of the AFDCS also has a YouTube Channel and produces videos on various facets of FDC collecting.

Calle to Design GASS 2024 Covers

Popular Artist Will Be at AFDCS Booth To Sign Covers, Meet Collectors

Chris Calle greets a collector at the AFDCS booth at GASS 2023

Professional artist Chris Calle again will design the official show cachets for Great American Stamp Show 2024. He also will be at the American First Day Cover Society booth during the show to autograph covers and stamps with his designs and chat with collectors.

During his 40+ years as an illustrator his artwork focused on historical subjects and the theme of space exploration produced in paint and pencil for publications, advertising, coins and FDCs. Chris has designed more than 35 postage stamps for the United States and hundreds more for countries as diverse as Sweden and the Marshall Islands, as well as designs for the United Nations.

Chris’s US postage stamp design work includes the two stamps celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the first Moon Landing jointly designed with his father Paul Calle who designed the iconic #C76 First Man on the Moon stamp in 1969. Perhaps Chris’s most well-known solo artwork is the $2.40 Priority Mail stamp design of 1989 (Sc. 2419), which depicts Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planting the American flag on the moon. 

For more than a decade Chris has designed the show cachets for the major U.S. summer stamp collecting shows as well as many regional stamp shows throughout the country. Among other stamp and cover design awards, Chris' first day cover cachets have won the top prize in the annual AFDCS contest several times.
The AFDCS is a co-sponsor of the Great American Stamp Show, which includes the Americover first day cover exhibition and announcement of the results of its annual cachetmaking contest. GASS this year is being held in Hartford, Conn., August 15-18, 2024. Admission is free.

Cachetmaker Directory Update

A new edition of the American First Day Cover Society’s AFDCS Directory of Current Cachetmakers is now available. The January 2024 version can be downloaded for free via this link. Printed versions are available for $5.00 postpaid from AFDCS Sales; order here.

Compiled by John White of North Carolina, the directory seeks to list every individual or company currently producing cacheted first day covers, whether or not they are members of the AFDCS. There is no charge for listings; cachetmakers who wish to be included in a future edition should fill out the online form here.  
New editions of the directory are published when there are a number of additions or changes, so the next version may be next month or next year. The link to the latest edition — whatever it is — is on the home page. The January 2024 edition adds 11 cachetmakers, removes 14 and updates six.

Four Elected to Board

Left to right, Wile, Morgan, Miller and Hayward

Members of the American First Day Cover Society have elected three new members to the organization's Board of Directors: Jeff Hayward of New York, Patrick Morgan of Missouri and Eric Wile of North Carolina. Also elected was incumbent Foster Miller of Maryland. The four candidates were unopposed.

The vote totals were:

Foster Miller
Eric Wile
Jeffrey Hayward
Patrick Morgan

In addition, Chris Calle, Mark Gereb, Michael R. Rosenthal, Catherine O'Conner, Walter George, D.A. Lux and Lisa Foster each received one write-in vote. Jack Ginsburg of the AFDCS’s Robert C. Graebner Chapter was acting chair of the Election Committee, filling in for chairman Otto Thamasett who was recovering from surgery. Filling out the committee were Roy Souther and, replacing Otto, Neal Parr. The committee received 217 ballots, of which one was disqualified.

Miller has been on the Board since 1997 and is also Chair of the Membership and Sales Departments of the AFDCS. A new member of the AFDCS, Morgan has written articles for both First Days and Topical Time, and is active in his local stamp club. Hayward, a Life Member, works in Information Technology and is active in the American Topical Association. Wile is also active in a local stamp club, has written many times for First Days, and is a cachetmaker.

Four seats on the AFDCS Board of Directors are elected each year for three-year terms, beginning Jan. 1. In addition to the 12 elected directors, the president, the editor of the official journal First Days, and the general counsel serve on the board ex officio, if not elected to the board in their own right. The board meets in person at least once a year and as needed via the internet.

AFDCS directors are not compensated for serving on the board nor reimbursed for their travel expenses.

Tie for 2022 Writing Award

Two works tied for first place in the American First Day Cover Society’s Philip H. Ward, Jr., Memorial Award for Excellence in First Day Cover Literature published in 2022. One recipient was Henry Scheuer, for his two-part article “How the Earliest Collectors Sought Out First Days” in The American Philatelist in November and December 2022. This article also won the 2023 United States Stamp Society’s Barbara R. Mueller Award.
The other winner was a book, The Connecticut Tercentenary Issue of 1935, by Peter J. LaPlaca and Anthony F. Dewey. Included in the book is a complete catalogue of all known cachets for the issue, Sc. 772.
The runner-up work was the article "Earliest Documented Uses of the Large Bank Note Stamps" by Ralph Nafziger, which appeared in the November 2022 issue of The Chronicle, journal of the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society.
Although all articles in First Days, the official journal of the AFDCS, are automatically considered for this award, "I find it interesting that none of these works was published in our journal, " said AFDCS president Lloyd A. de Vries. "Their publication in media not specifically about first day covers shows, in my opinion, the wider acceptance that FDCs are gaining."
A complete list of past winners can be found on this page.
Philip Henry Ward, Jr., began servicing first day covers in 1909. Although an electrical engineer by trade, he wrote on new issues for The American Philatelist, Mekeel’s Weekly Stamp News and The Weekly Philatelic Gazette in the early 20th century.

Board Candidates Announced

Candidates for the annual election for members of the board of directors of the American First Day Cover Society have been announced.

AFDCS members will elect four candidates for 2024-2026 three-year terms on the board. The candidates seeking election are Eric Wile, Jeff Hayward, Foster Miller and Patrick Morgan. Miller is a current director seeking reelecton, while Wile, Hayward and Morgan are seeking to join the board for the first time.

Candidate statements and the ballot will be sent by first-class mail to all AFDCS members this fall. All members are encouraged to vote.

The board meets in person once each year, in a meeting preceding Americover, the society's annual show and convention, now part of the Great American Stamp Show. The board also meets as necessary via video conference. Members of the board of directors are not compensated nor reimbursed for their expenses.

De Vries to Receive APS Luff Award

From the APS:

Since 1940, the Luff Award has been the most prestigious award that the American Philatelic Society can bestow upon living philatelists. The Luff Award was established in memory of John N. Luff, APS president from 1907 to 1909, who was considered the most prominent American philatelist of his era.

The APS Luff Awards are available annually for Distinguished Philatelic Research, Exceptional Contributions to Philately, and Outstanding Service to the American Philatelic Society.

The 2023 recipient For Exceptional Contributions to Philately is AFDCS President Lloyd A. de Vries.

Lloyd A. de Vries writes the first day cover column for Linn's Stamp News (since 1997) and before that for Stamps (1986-89) and Stamp Collector (1989-97). For 20 years, de Vries produced a weekly radio feature on stamp collecting for CBS News. He has operated online stamp collecting forums since 1993, which collectively became The Virtual Stamp Club, and moderates the VSC and American First Day Cover Society Facebook groups, as well as the online Americover page.

De Vries has also written about first day covers and other subjects for First Days, Stamps, Stamp Collector, Global Stamp News, Brookman Times, and the USPS website Beyond the Perf.

Since 2010, de Vries has been president of the AFDCS while also serving in various other posts. He is the president of the APS Writers Unit #30, and a member of many other stamp societies, including the American Philatelic Society (since 1982). He served on the APS Board (1997-2005) as a director-at-large and secretary. He received the Nicholas G. Carter Volunteer Recognition Award (national) in 2009, the AFDCS Distinguished Service Award in 2008, and last year was named a Most Influential Philatelist by Linn's Stamp News.

De Vries has produced Dragon Cards first day cachets since 1983.

Lloyd is married with two sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren. He plays trombone, bass trombone and euphonium in several community musical ensembles. He retired in 2020 after a 44-year career in journalism (radio, television, internet) with CBS, ABC and others, most of it at the network level. As a freelance radio journalist, his sports coverage included the World Series, Preakness Stakes and even an event at the White House.

Lloyd’s response to the award.

Americover Volunteers Wanted

The AFDCS is seeking members to volunteer for Great American Stamp Show.

The available slots are:

  • Thursday, Aug, 10 - 10 am-12 pm and 12-2 pm
  • Friday, Aug. 11 - 10 am-12 pm
  • Saturday, Aug. 12 - 10 am-12 pm and 12-2 pm

COVER PREPARATION: Thursday, August 10 and Friday, August 11: 10 am-12 pm

Please let Americover volunteer coordinator Ralph Nafziger — — know by August 4 if you can help, and if so, when and for which duty.

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